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News Release: City artists in residence to bring creative placemaking to St. Paul's public agencies, thanks to ArtPlace grant

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Public Art Saint Paul's unique initiative to embed artists in the City of Saint Paul's Departments of Public Works, Planning, and Parks is a step closer to major expansion, thanks to a $300,000 grant from ArtPlace announced today.

Led by conceptual/behavioral artist Marcus Young, artists will be at the table at the earliest stages of new thinking for the City to have broad systemic impact as decisions are made about shaping and programming public space. Dubbed "CAIRs" (City Artists-In-Residence), the artists will work within the public agencies (which also include the Capitol Region and Ramsey Washington Metro Watershed Districts that serve Saint Paul) to shape a public realm that fosters imagination and strengthens public places as vessels of civic life.
ArtPlace is a new national collaboration of 11 major national and regional foundations, six of the nation's largest banks, and eight federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S. To date, ArtPlace has raised almost $50 million to work alongside federal and local governments to transform communities with strategic investments in the arts.

"Across the country, cities and towns are using the arts to help shape their social, physical, and economic characters," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "The arts are a part of everyday life, and I am thrilled to see yet another example of an arts organization working with city, state, and federal offices to help strengthen and revitalize their communities through the arts. It is wonderful that ArtPlace and its funders have recognized this work and invested in it so generously."

Says Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, "We are in a game-changing moment.  After six years of successful development of the CAIR Program, we are ready to take a significant new step in advancing how public art is effectively envisioned, created, delivered, and sustained.  This collaboration between the City and Public Art Saint Paul adds to the flourishing of civic life by enacting a new vision for an expressive City."

With ArtPlace funding, the CAIR program will add 2 more artists to work as a cohort with Young across public agencies from a base in Saint Paul Public Works.  They will develop new models for art that will have profound impact at city-scale on the living systems of the city – water, forest, infrastructure, urban agriculture, and social interaction.  One such project is Young's popular Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk, which has resulted in more than 450 imprints of locally authored poems on the concrete pages of the "city book" since 2008.  

ArtPlace received almost 2200 letters of inquiry from organizations seeking a portion of the $15.4 million available for grants in this cycle.  Inquiries came from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands. The 47 projects selected each take a unique and locally-focused approach to creative placemaking, from the creation of a Jazz and Heritage Center in New Orleans' historic Tremé neighborhood to generate vibrancy and economic growth for the local community to ARTSIPELAGO, a comprehensive revitalization strategy that combines a number of unconnected arts and cultural initiatives in Eastport, Maine, for greater effect.

"These projects all exemplify the best in creative placemaking," explained ArtPlace's Director, Carol Coletta.  "They demonstrate a deep understanding of how smart investments in art, design, and culture as part of a larger portfolio of revitalization strategies can change the trajectory of communities and increase economic opportunities for people."

In September, ArtPlace will release a new set of metrics to measure changes over time in the people, activity, and real estate value in the communities where ArtPlace has invested with its grants. 
Participating foundations include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Robina Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, and an anonymous donor. In addition to the NEA, federal partners are the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council. ArtPlace is also supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions and managed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Participating institutions are Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife and Morgan Stanley.

A complete list of this year's ArtPlace awards can be found at

Tim Halbur, 415.948.1398,

Related links
$1.3 million sparks Twin Cities creative projects, Star Tribune
ArtPlace grants $1.3M to Twin City arts, including the Public Arts St. Paul initiative, Pioneer Press
ArtPlace injects Twin Cities with $1.3 million in grants, Minnesota Public Radio